The Ohio State football team has the biggest game of all of the college football matchups this weekend when they travel to South Bend to take on Notre Dame. It’s the second game of a home-and-home series in which the Buckeyes won last year in the Shoe 21-10.
This year’s matchup is different for several reasons. It’s not the first game of the season this time, so both offenses should be better than they were a year ago. Both teams have new quarterbacks as well, so that makes this matchup much more intriguing.
Ohio State finally played a well-rounded game last week in their 63-10 drubbing of Western Kentucky. Both sides of the ball were dominated by the Buckeyes. Notre Dame has already played four games this season and looks to be in midseason form as well.
There are three keys to the Buckeyes walking out of South Bend with a win on Saturday night. The first one has to do with running the ball in very specific situations.
1. Ohio State football must succeed in short-yardage running situations
One of the biggest problems the Ohio State offense has is their inability to convert on third and fourth down. As it stands right now, the Buckeyes are 93rd in the country in third-down conversion rate, converting just 36% of the time. That’s something that can’t happen on Saturday night.
A good chunk of those third-down attempts have come in short-yardage situations. Ohio State has tried to run the ball in those scenarios and has failed almost every time. That comes back to the offensive line issues that we have been talking about all year.
The offensive line has to get a better push up the middle in these situations. There’s no reason Ohio State shouldn’t be able to convert on 3rd and 2 or 3rd and 3 on a run play. They are too talented in the backfield to let another team stop them in that short of yardage.
I’m sure this is something that the Buckeyes have been practicing all week. The second key to the Buckeyes winning the game has to do with the line of scrimmage on the other side of the ball.